Apple used to make much smaller handsets, and had a throwback edition with the 4in iPhone SE a few years back - although it's been discontinued, much to the sadness of certain i-fans. Rumours of a second edition came and went in 2018 to no avail.
But they're back: leaks suggest that Apple plans to revisit the iPhone SE concept in 2020 with a different kind of approach. Here's what we've heard so far.
(iPhone 8 shown, unless otherwise noted)
When will the Apple iPhone SE 2 be out?
The original iPhone SE (shown) launched in March 2016, offering a nice respite from the ever-larger flagship iPhones on the market. The sequel may not break cover for a while, though.
Nikkei reports that a lower-cost iPhone in the same vein as the iPhone SE will launch in early 2020. Naming has not yet been decided, so don't hold it against us if the "SE" branding disappears, but the publication suggests that the phone will be Apple's move to help fill the void left by increasingly-pricier flagship iPhones.
In other words, when Apple announces the expected iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max next week, don't expect an iPhone SE 2 alongside them. It's not the time and place to roll something like that out when it would be so clearly overshadowed.
We're not expecting it right away, but spring 2020 sounds right.
How much will the Apple iPhone SE 2 cost?
Apple's current-generation iPhones start at £749 and rise rapidly from there. The iPhone SE 2 will undoubtedly fall well under that price point.
The original iPhone SE launched at £379 back in 2016, and while we anticipate some upward movement on the price scale, it shouldn't be dramatic. Something in the ballpark of £449 might make sense, but we're just guessing at this point.
Apple's continued price push has created an even greater opportunity for Android makers to lure buyers away with appealing mid-range and low-end options. A more affordable, yet still powerful iPhone could help Apple regain a bit of momentum in the lower price categories.
A price point that's a smidge higher than the original iPhone SE launch price sounds about right to us, but we'll see how further leaks and rumours shake out.
What will the Apple iPhone SE 2 look like?
The original iPhone SE looked like a slightly refactored iPhone 5S, and Apple has shown a tendency in recent years to stick with designs for years and years. Just look at the iPhone 6/6s/7/8.
In fact, the 4.7in design from the iPhone 8 will reportedly serve as the basis for the iPhone SE 2, rather than the 4in design of the iPhone 5s. That's according to Nikkei, which cites three sources with the information.
That would make the iPhone SE 2 larger than its predecessor, but given how large the screens on Apple's flagship phones are nowadays, that's still more than an inch smaller than the iPhone XS. Apple still sells the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 right now, along with the Plus-sized versions, although that could certainly change by the time next spring rolls around.
Apple's not done with that iPhone 6-8 design just yet!
What about the Apple iPhone SE 2's screen?
It's hard to believe that we'll see any significant improvements on the screen front compared to the iPhone 8. Apple never bumped the resolution on its 4.7in models, despite being behind the curve in the flagship space.
The iPhone 8's screen was an LCD panel at 1334x750, or 326 pixels per inch (ppi), so the iPhone SE 2 is sure to land in the exact same spot. Apple left 3D Touch out of the iPhone SE, and then the iPhone XR followed suit - and rumours suggest that the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max will do the same, finally eliminating that functionality from the modern iPhone lineup. There's no reason to expect it to return in the iPhone SE 2, then.
Seems like a safe bet to expect the same 4.7in LCD screen here.
How much power will the Apple iPhone SE 2 pack?
With the original iPhone SE, Apple made a surprising move: despite the dated design and some other older specs, the SE featured the latest and greatest iPhone processor at the time.
Nikkei reports that the iPhone SE 2 "will share most of the same components with the flagship iPhones this year," which suggests a similar approach. Given that, we'd expect to see the new A13 processor, or whatever Apple ultimately decides to call it. That would give the phone enough power to run the latest games and apps, and ensure that the overall lineup isn't bogged down by older tech.
On the other hand, 2018 rumours previously suggested that Apple would use a year-old processor for the SE successor instead - so maybe the A12 Fusion is in the SE 2's future. That's still a super-speedy processor, one of the fastest today, plus leaks suggest a pretty modest speed bump for the A13 anyway. It shouldn't be a huge difference.
With the A12 or A13, the iPhone SE 2 will be a small yet speedy option.
What kind of camera will the Apple iPhone SE 2 have?
Don't expect a dual-camera setup like the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, or even a triple-camera setup like the rumoured iPhone 11 Pro models. Like the iPhone 8, XR, and original iPhone SE, we're anticipating a single shooter on the back of the iPhone SE 2.
What kind of quality should we expect? Most likely, if the iPhone 8 model is the basis for this new iPhone SE 2, then we'll see the iPhone 8's great 12-megapixel shooter on the back. It takes great snaps, even if it doesn't match the highest of the high-end smartphone cameras today - or the Pixel 3a, for that matter. But it's still a good one.
A 12-megapixel camera makes sense, assuming the iPhone SE 2 is essentially a reworked iPhone 8.
Is there anything else I should know about the Apple iPhone SE 2?
Not much at this point. Rumours in 2018 suggested that the iPhone SE 2 would keep the headphone port, given the expected 4in frame - but if it's the 4.7in iPhone 8 frame now, then that seems very unlikely.
Elsewhere, we have to wonder whether Apple will opt for Face ID or Touch ID on the iPhone SE 2. The iPhone 8 had Touch ID, so we're guessing that the iPhone SE 2 will hold the title of the lone modern iPhone to house the feature come early next year.
Will it also feature wireless charging? That seems like a feature that's more likely to leave a budget-friendlier model, although we'll see whether Apple keeps the glass backing of the iPhone 8 or opts to return to the aluminum from previous models.
All of this should add up to a well-equipped, compact phone with flagship power at a lower cost. We're looking forward to seeing the iPhone SE 2 break cover early next year... we hope.